I’ve been thinking a lot lately about internet marketing, online marketing, SEO – let’s just call it MARKETING. Google has all the SEO nerds running around like Chicken Little because the virtual sky is falling. Google Panda, Google Penguin, Google Hummingbird. Oh my! Links are out. Guest blogging is out. Blah blah blah. All this NOISE.

I’d like to step back from all of it for just a minute, and take a deep cleansing breath.

(Now exhale.)

The part that I’ve been thinking about is that business owners like you and me, don’t really give a crap about any of it. I’m betting that you don’t care about Page Rank, link bait, social signals, meta tags, or any of that. Please raise your hand if that stuff makes your eyes glaze over (or roll back in your head). Aren’t you just a little afraid of it, in case you do it wrong and get spanked by Google?

(OK, put your hands down.)

I think, and please tell me if I’m wrong (yes, you can comment below), the only thing you care about is your phone ringing. You want qualified leads coming to your shop – whether it’s virtual or brick and mortar – and either engaging with you or better yet, buying from you. Are you involved with a non-profit? You’ve really got the same issues as for-profits. You want people to know about you, engage with you, and be part of your community.

Am I getting warm here?

I say, “Throw all the ‘SEO’ nerd stuff out the window!” Go ahead. You’re tired of hearing about it, we’re all tired of being whipsawed around by the changes that Google puts in place, and we all just need a clear, easy-to-follow set of guidelines that anyone can do without worrying about if our stupid Title tag is right or not..

Five Core Principles of Online Marketing

I just saw a graphic today that said, there is no such thing as B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business) any more. It’s all H2H. Human to Human. That’s it, and I’ve been saying it all along:

“People buy into you before they buy from you.”

If you aren’t building an online relationship with your human customers, they’re far less likely to purchase or engage with you. If you do build that relationship, you’re far more likely to succeed.

I just spoke with a Pastor at a church yesterday, encouraging her to do the pieces below. She wants to do videos, but is struggling to understand how to do it without sounding like she’s selling something. I said, “Just talk to me [through the camera] as if I am sitting on the couch in the room–like you’re talking to a friend one on one. Tell me about why this is significant to me, and why I should care.”

YOU can do this.

In my way of rethinking the whole big mess, business owners really need to focus on five core things. I’m calling them the Five Core Principles of Online Marketing. Four of the five are essentially free – maybe a little of someone’s time, but you hopefully already have the core pieces in place. Even better? ANYONE and I mean ANYONE can do this stuff. This isn’t dimly lit, back room, techno-geek nerdy html gobbledygook. It’s honest to God dirt simple to do.

I absolutely 100% guarantee that if you just do the first four items consistently, you will get better and better results.

What Does This Look Like?

Website – It should be well (professionally) designed, and make it easy for people to engage with you. But as I said in another post, no one cares about your website. They just want to find out if you can solve their problem. ALL searchers on Google and the other search engines want one thing: the solution to their problem. If you have the solution, make it EASY for them to figure it out, and make it easy for them to ask for help. Build the basics of SEO into the site, which I can teach you in about an hour, and be done with it. Google is getting pretty darned good about figuring it out without having to do all this other stuff.

Content – People (and the search engines) want content. Lots of it. This can be articles, blogs, press releases, videos, podcasts, white papers, or any combination of the above (a video embedded in a blog post for instance). The more you do this, the more people will see that you have the solution(s) to their problem(s).

Social Media – Promote that content on social media. Simple. With one click, you can post it to all your social media platforms at once. I’m talking the big four: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn. If you have others, that’s fine too. You can even pre-schedule your content to go live, and auto-post to your social media. This builds followers, eyeballs, clicks and likes.

E-mail Newsletter – All your content goes in your newsletter. Work at building the list of raving fans, and keep them coming back for more. Give them a taste of your content (intro paragraph) so it’s a quick read. Then link it to the full copy on your blog or website, so they can consume it there.

Paid Ads – This is the optional one, and it does cost money. You have to budget for it, but it’s a fantastic lead generation source. Work with someone who knows how to set it up properly with a good landing page, narrowly-focused target keywords, and test it.

That’s it. I don’t care if you’re an attorney, a hair stylist, car mechanic, a Pastor at a church, a virtual store owner or a restaurateur. These basic, fundamental tools are relatively easy to set up, cheap or even free, easy to automate, and do them consistently. Hire a virtual assistant to build this stuff out and feed it. I guarantee that ANYONE can do all five of these, and not worry about all the little nit-picky things that SEO pundits are telling you that you have to do.

We’ll be fleshing these five core pieces out more in future articles, and I’m going to step you through them one by one. So stay tuned for more.

In the mean time, please tell me below if this seems like a manageable list that you could tackle without all the nerdy stuff – if only someone would just show you how. What is your biggest barrier to doing any of them?